Hillcrest Vision: Retraining Your Focus

I recently learned that I should never go to the eye doctor a week before my birthday. After turning 40 a few years ago, I thought I was past the fear of getting older, but hearing “Yep, you need bifocals,” mere days before turning 42 was a hard pill to swallow. However (and this is one of the many great things about my awesome eye doctor, Juawana Hall), she assured me that my much-needed added lens wouldn’t be the traditional bifocals of yesteryear, but the line would be virtually impossible to see. I have the utmost trust in Dr. Hall, so I took her at her word. After all – she’s never led me astray yet, and besides, what was I supposed to do about it? I have to see, right?

After Dr. Hall finished my eye exam, I visited Joey Mahaffey, the optician at Hillcrest Vision. I carefully studied the wall of frames and picked out several options to try on. I’m one of those people who alternates between contacts and glasses, so I had a bit of a need-to-get list to work on with Joey: new contacts, new glasses, and new prescription sunglasses.

Eyewear shopping behind me, I had to wait about a week for my new glasses to arrive. In the meantime, I adjusted to multi-focal contacts. I didn’t struggle too badly with those. Other than a headache for a couple of days (the norm for anyone adjusting to a new prescription), I didn’t have any issues.

Multi-focal contacts are amazing. Dr. Hall put me in a three-zone contact lens that helps my eyes adapt for distance vision, computer use, and reading. I don’t understand a thing about how they work, but for those who have multiple vision needs – great news! We’re no longer confined to either glasses only, or a farsighted contact in one eye and nearsighted in the other (I never understood how anyone could adapt to that!). As I move my eyes around, the contacts seem to know what I need. I’m sure there’s something really scientific and probably mathematical about the design, but I’m not that curious about them. I just think it’s cool that they work.

But adjusting to the glasses? Now THAT was a whole different kind of experience. When Joey called me to let me know they had arrived, I took out my contacts, put my old glasses on and hopped in the car. Confidentially, I was excited – as much as I grumbled about having to get multi-lenses, it’s fun to get new eyeglasses!

Joey explained the three zones in my glasses as he adjusted them on my face. He told me to move my whole head to look – I shouldn’t glance with my eyes as I normally do.

A word before I continue. Those who have worn glasses for years (like me) know there is always a bit of a learning curve, adjusting to the shape of a new pair of frames, especially as they catch your peripheral vision. So, I was expecting a bit of a headache. It happens every single time I get new glasses.

However, I wish I had taken Joey’s advice more to heart. I never felt as queasy as I did when I walked outside and did exactly what he told me not to do: glanced down with my eyes, not my head. After a lifetime of a single prescription in my glasses, it took a couple of days to learn to use them correctly for distance, computer use, and reading without feeling dizzy in the process.

The adjustment was worth it, though. I love my new glasses – not just the frames, but because I can see to drive (for which my fellow drivers are grateful)… I can see to work on my computer without my eyes feeling tired at the end of the day… and I can see to read without needing the book right under my nose.

If you’re in the market for new eyewear, please pay a visit to my friends at Hillcrest Vision! I promise they will take great care of you!

Hillcrest Vision is located at 2431 Winterhaven Lane in Winston-Salem. Call them at 760.2020, visit them online at HillcrestVision.com and be sure to “like” them on Facebook.


Utilize these tips to adjust to your multi-focal lenses!

  1. Wait to wear your new multi-focal lenses until morning. Don’t switch from an old prescription to a new one in the middle of the day. Start when your eyes are rested.
  2. Don’t switch back and forth between your new and old glasses.
  3. Move your head – don’t glance with your eyes. This will feel awkward and unnecessary, but it will save moments of queasiness and dizziness.
  4. Tilt your head back slightly to read; close your eyes to refocus.
  5. Plan for a 48-hour adjustment period.